Jay March2011

Jay Frucci, President and Owner,
Furniture Consignment Gallery

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The Secret to Fine Furniture Accumulation

 

 

img 3283She came into the showroom to buy a bed. Her husband is a big dude - 6'4", 260 pounds - and the bed they'd bought just a few years ago from a discount store had broken. Cheaply made, she'd been told, it wasn't worth repairing.

 

Fortunately, we have 21 beds at our store in Plymouth, and I knew she'd be pleased with the variety and the price. Still, it was a hassle for her - and an unforeseen expense. Like a burst pipe or a dead car battery, a bed is a necessity.

 

Looking around the showroom, she seemed stunned at the array of styles, the quality and the excellent condition of the beds - not to mention the prices. "You guys have awesome stuff," she said, taking a moment to appreciate it all.

 

Unfortunately, tales like hers are increasingly common these days. For the past decade or so, the home furnishings market has been flooded with cheap furniture. Shoddily made, many of these pieces are made from lightweight particle board then glued or stapled together. That's why so many of Particleboardthose so-called bargain pieces sag, crack, or fall apart after only a short time.

 

"We thought we were getting a deal," our customer said sadly of the bed she and her husband had bought as newlyweds. "Turns out, it was no deal."

 

We don't do cheap. Our showrooms are filled with stylish and pieces from some of the nation's top furniture manufacturers like Ethan Allen, Stickley, Stanley, Hooker, Hitchcock and Thomasville. These beds, tables and couches are made with care and precision using old-fashioned, long-lasting manufacturing techniques. Dowels are important. So are dovetails. Thanks to our knowledgeable staff, our customer got an education - and a bed she loved - that morning.

 

Later that afternoon, a thirtysomething couple strolled into the showroom holding hands and eagerly looking over the inventory. They unveiled the secret to fine furniture accumulationgus 9. "We buy one piece of Stickley furniture every year for our anniversary," the wife explained. Married ten years, they have a home that has been thoughtfully decorated over time with meaningful pieces that will last a lifetime.

 

That seems like a lovely tradition to me. Skip the bargain basement where couches are featherweight - because their cushions are made of inexpensive foam. Stop by one - or all - of our three stores. You'll never regret buying quality.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Comedy, Tragedy, We've Got it In Spades in July

 

 

shatteredsmallI was ready for a break. So I welcomed the brief lull in the store when the phones went silent and the parking lot emptied earlier this week. It didn't last long. Suddenly, I heard a massive crash. A large mirror had jumped off the wall to its death. Shards of glass were everywhere.

The dog days of summer are upon us. Even the furniture is getting agitated.

July is a weird month. That's when the showroom seems to turn into a confessional. Is it the heat or the humidity? I don't know, but for some reason, that's when wayfarers wander into our stores and pour out their hearts.

Yesterday, a pickup truck pulled into the parking lot. Four rambunctious boys spilled out of the cab and tore through the showroom like monkeys swinging on jungle vines. The oldest was about fourteen, the youngest was a toddler. Their father followed, looking sweaty and irritable.

"Cute kids?" I offered hesitantly.

LTKzKeGTa"They're driving me nuts!" Dad replied. "You know, I thought we were done after two kids. I even went to the doc" - he winced - "so there wouldn't be any, you know, surprises. Then, after ten years, my wife decides she wants more. So back I go. You know, to the doc."

He closed his eyes and shook his head wearily. "Twelve grand it cost me to fix the plumbing! And that's just for starters! I'm on the hook, man. I'm on the hook for a long time. I'm looking at, like, sixteen years of college tuition."  

What do you say at a moment like that? I had no idea. When in doubt, my motto is to talk furniture. "That's a mighty nice desk you've got out there in the truck, buddy," I blurted out. "Mighty nice! I think we can sell that desk and put some money back in your wallet."

Readers, if you're in the market for some entertainment, you gotta come visit one of our showrooms. Comedy, tragedy, we've got it it in spades in July. And if you're in the market for a desk, you'll make one poor guy a little happier.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Restoration Hardware's Bland Awareness

 

 

http://context.metalbat.com/Seriously, Restoration Hardware, what were you thinking? Your 17-pound catalog landed on our doorstep with a thud last week. At 3,300 pages, it just about cracked the concrete landing. We needed a forklift to haul it into the house.

 

You're taking a lot of flack for that catalog, RH. Some folks are complaining that your massive tome is wasteful and environmentally insensitive. UPS had the unenviable task of delivering your catalogs to millions of homes across the U.S. How many of its brown trucks broke an axle on that job?

 

I've got a different beef, though. RH, you call your catalog a celebration of "curated and inspired design." Really? To me, your entire catalog looks a lot like Nantucket when it is totally socked in with fog. I'd call your design aesthetic 50 Shades of Grey - without the sex.

 

warm greys CIL paintsI pity the poor wordsmith assigned the task of naming your palette of grey paints. I see you've got Gravel, Slate, Charcoal, Dusk, Flint, Flax and Glacier, and that's only seven of the 36. What a challenge it must have been coming up with names for the other 29. Are you really going to make your customers ask for a quart of Atmosphere? Ouch.      

 

Our stores carry a lot of your stuff, RH. But we like to mix it up with color and styles that aren't quite so austere. After all, our customers aren't furnishing a convent.

 

In our showroom in Chestnut Hill, we've got a pair of your leather Copenhagen chairs that would look amazing paired with an upholstered ottoman in a tribal design. We've also got one of your patio sets in Hanover that would look great with some colorful pillows. And Plymouth has a sideboard perfect for displaying a bright china pattern.

Feel free to stop by our stores, RH. We'll introduce you to a wonderful world of color. And we'll let you empty our recycling bin which is filled with your catalogs. Frankly, I'd rather move heavy furniture.

 

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Tone Down The Neutral

 

 

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     Rain soaked and sweating from the stress of battling traffic, I found my seat right in time for the start of my son's middle school graduation ceremony. I was really excited that I was able to flee the showroom so that I could savor a few last moments with my son as an eighth grader. Sure, it isn't the same as commencement from high school or University, but I was still looking forward to this moment.

      It was a nice ceremony featuring a well behaved crowd. Students thanked teachers and parents. They reminisced about the past and peered into the future. No one lit a firecracker. No one pulled a prank. All in all, the ceremony was safe, predictable and, well, maybe just a little disappointing.  

      All across America, commencement speakers are delivering the same speech to a new crop of graduates: "Be yourself!" "Take a stand!" "Make a difference!" Meanwhile, as a society, we're doing our best to squelch any sign of originality or any spark of dissension.

      Neutral is the watchword of our times. That's how we communicate, dress and decorate our homes. Afraid of offending a neighbor, we paint our houses with the same palette of beige, grey and taupe. We shrink from expressing an opinion that might cause a tirade on Twitter or Facebook - and for good reason. The court of public opinion is harsh. Offend someone and you'll pay a high price in your life or your business. Neutral is safe.

      This morning, I opened my mailbox to find ten Restoration Hardware catalogues wrapped together. The twenty pounds of RH catalogue is a great marketing idea that will be talked about by many, but what I noticed is a few hundred pages of greys and beiges. Not a splash of color to be found. It's not their fault, it is who we are as a people right now. We would rather be safe than sorry.

      So my advice to graduates is to skip bland and go straight to unique. We are not naturally neutral. What the heck, I'm thinking of painting my house Margarita Green. Not beige. Not grey. And definitely not taupe. Why not?

      Congratulations to the class of 2014. You have big things ahead of you and many challenges. In addition to solving the world's problems you need to find a way to add some color into your life and ours.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Mom Advises Newly Weds

 

 

momzillaShe burst into the showroom like a dervish of interior design, bracelets jangling and coattails billowing. Trailing closely behind were a husband, a daughter and a soon-to-be son-in-law who seemed cowed by this new and unstoppable force of nature taking charge of his life.

 

As mother-of-the-bride, she'd planned every detail of the wedding down the last sugared flower on the cake. Now, she was on a mission to decorate the couple's new home. Her help was non-negotiable, apparently part of the fine print of the marriage contract.

 

She stopped abruptly at the first piece of furniture in her path, a Stickley cherry end table. "Look!" she commanded. "You won't see this at Ikea. Hmmm, $225. That's a great buy."

 

Daughter leaned in, eyes wide with wonder. Future son-in-law looked panic-stricken. What was his role in this drama? Agree? Disagree? Meanwhile, husband stood back, arms folded across his chest, clearly signaling that young couples should make their own decisions about tables, chairs and lamps.

 

To his surprise, Mom seemed to get the hint. She gave a last little speech on buying quality furniture then sent the couple off to explore our store. The young couple meandered off and discovered, to their delight, handcrafted furniture perfect for their starter house.

 

That morning, the couple excitedly took the first steps towards feathering their first nest. Beaming, they bought a Venetian mirror and agreed to think about a Bradington Young leather set on the second floor.

 

'Tis the season to be wed. Parents of the brides and grooms, you may be tempted to drown that young couple with well-meaning advice. But, here's my advice to you: RELAX! Sure, they're bound to make a few mistakes but if you point them in the right direction, they'll eventually figure it out on their own. Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Kicked Out

 

 

Divorce art 257 20080515133455He shot into the showroom like he'd been launched straight from the corner office by a cannon. His white shirt was crisply starched, his shoes were shined and he reeked of expensive cologne. "I need a table," he said abruptly and somewhat angrily. Nothing fancy. Four legs and a flat surface. Where he could drink his coffee and read the paper. Alone.

 

Two days later, a black Escalade ripped into our parking lot. Out jumped a guy in surgical scrubs, a surgeon, sweaty after hours in the operating room. "I need a chair," he snapped. Something comfortable, he said, but he had to be able to fit it in his car and carry it up three flights of stairs, by himself, to his new and empty apartment. We found him a nice barrel chair at a reasonable price. Now at least he has a spot in which to sip a stiff drink after work.

 

What's going on? Two different guys, same week, same story. They came home from work to find the locks changed and the golf clubs scattered all over the lawn. I guess May must be the month for disgruntled wives to really clean house.

 

At least Wife #1 was able to offer one small act of mercy to the schmuck in the driveway. "Where do I go?" he asked his wife as he stuffed his belongings into the trunk of the car. "I don't care," she yelled out the window. "Get an apartment." Shocked, he stammered, "But I don't even have a bed - or a table."

 

There was a moment of silence then she apparently took pity on him, he told us. "Go to Furniture Consignment Gallery," she shouted then she slammed the window shut. Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

The New England Dream

 

 

IMG 2438They met as teenagers at a clam shack on the Cape, and fell in love. For the last twenty years, they've worked hard to build a marriage, careers, and a family. On Thursday, the couple and their two young sons stopped by our showroom shortly after leaving their lawyer's office. "We just bought a house!" the wife exclaimed. "On the Cape!"

Summer is coming and they have big plans. They want to take the boys to Old Silver Beach. Dad grew up playing volleyball there. Mom was a waitress at a restaurant in Woods Hole. Lunch there is on the agenda, too. They envision a summer filled with sandcastles and picnics. But first, they need furniture.

Buying the house tapped out the savings account, the couple admitted, but they wanted the place ready for fun by Memorial Day - in ten days! Thrift shop stuff is tacky. New furniture wasn't an option, either. "It's expensive and it lacks character," Mom said. "And we don't want to wait weeks for delivery."

FCG HomepageblockimageFor this family, Furniture Consignment Gallery struck just the right balance of quality products at an affordable price.

With the help of our sales staff, who are skilled at interior design, the couple quickly picked out a house-full of furniture from our three stores: two leather love seats, a cocktail table with storage for puzzles and crafts, and a sideboard for the foyer. The sideboard is perfect for stashing away keys, cell phones and all the other flotsam of their busy urban life.

They also snagged a hardy maple dining set and some end tables for the living room. At our store in Plymouth, they discovered a classic bedroom set by Michael Ashton - and were delighted to learn that we carry a line of new mattresses to complete the deal.

After that whirlwind shopping spree, the couple had one last concern: delivery. No problem, we told them. Furniture Consignment Gallery's movers would carefully pack up all the furniture they'd selected from the three stores into a single truck and bring it to the house in Falmouth.

With heavy rains in the forecast for this weekend, it is the perfect time to feather your summer nest. Stop by one - or all three - of our stores. Whether you're heading to a beach cottage or a mountain lodge, you'll find everything you need for that second home at FCG.  

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Take Mom for a Sunday Drive

 

 

 

Like a lot of men, I panic every Mother's Day.

 

Shopping for my wife and my mother is overwhelming. First, there's the gift. Maybe some flowers. Then, I've got to elbow my way through a mob of guys at the card store and snag one of those pink, beribboned pieces of poetry before the rack is stripped bare.

 

Every year, I dread the ordeal. What if the store runs out - and all that's left is a single dog-eared card addressed "To My Significant Other" or "To the Woman Who is Just Like a Mother To Me"?

 

So, guys, I'm going to make it easy for you this year. Furniture Consignment Gallery's three stores are loaded with quality consignment furniture that your wife and mother will love.

 

Our Plymouth store has just put lots of items on final markdown, among them a cherry server with a baker's rack by Drexel Heritage as well as other pieces by Domain, Pennsylvania House, Ethan Allen and Widdecomb. For someone who is setting up a home office, we've got a beautifully detailed black corner desk with hutch by Habersham.

 

In Hanover, we have dining room sets in every price range and in many different styles. We have a double pedestal "birdcage" table with a banded inlay by Henredon. The three leaves allow the table to extend to 162 " - and it comes with table pads to protect the gleaming mahogany finish.

 

Our Chestnut Hill store is chock full of one-of-a-kind pieces that would make for a memorable gift. We have a seven-drawer Italian lingerie chest with brass accents and a rose marble top for $1,199. Also on the showroom floor is a Louis XV bombe chest with delicate brass drawer pulls and a marble top.

 

Stop by one - or all three - of our stores. I'm sure you'll find something in one of our showrooms to make your significant other smile. With a gift from Furniture Consignment Gallery, you won't even need a card.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

The Details of Furniture

 

 

bonnet top secretary 200"Look at the detail!" one of our regular customers exclaimed stopping short right in front of a newly arrived item, an Eldred Wheeler Collector's Edition Bonnet Top Secretary.

 

No wonder. With 12 small drawers, 14 secret drawers, and exquisite fan carvings, the secretary is an extraordinary example of the art of woodworking. What caught her eye, though, were the two small and delicate shelves of wood that slid smoothly out from beneath the cabinet doors. "What are these?"     

 

"Those are the candle slides," Ron, our showroom manager and furniture expert, explained. "Before electricity, you would need a candle near to provide light for your work."

 

The Eldred Wheeler piece is a reproduction, but it tells a lot about the way of life in Massachusetts in the 1700s. Woodworkers spent days - even weeks - on the fan carvings and details. Hidden drawers and subtle pigeonholes were a secret delight for the owner.

 

Which got me thinking.  In last week's blog, I killed off Queen Anne, declaring that once-popular furniture style now out-of-date. Pieces as exquisite as the Eldred Wheeler are rare - and so expensive that few but the most ardent collector can afford them. So what's next for the rest of us?

 

We are at a crossroads. We're taller and fatter. We aren't farmers and small-town laborers like they were in the 1700s. We roam the planet like hunter-gatherers now. We shed belongings - and buy more - with every move. We like quality but we won't pay for it.  

 

What does that mean for furniture? Are we happy to live on chunks of foam wrapped in polyester? Has furniture become the new Dixie cup: disposable? Are we still willing to pay for quality, detail, character and art? What do you think?

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Queen's Passing Was Expected

 

 

Half crown of AnneUntil her death in 1714, Queen Anne ruled Great Britain for a dozen years. Hers was a short but dismal reign. She suffered from gout, watery eyes, multiple miscarriages and morbid obesity. She was an unlovely woman - who nonetheless gave her name to a very lovely style of furniture.

 

Ironically, the Queen Anne style is all about sleek legs and delicate curves - quite unlike the corpulent monarch with the legendary appetite. For three centuries, her furniture enjoyed a modest and enduring popularity. Then for some reason, in the 1980s, Queen Anne furniture became the style statement of a generation of baby boomers.

Every leading American furniture-maker filled its showrooms with glossy tables made of cherry wood perched on shapely cabriolet legs. For a decade, Queen Anne ruled the roost. Walk into any four-bedroom colonial in an upscale community and you would find a predictable scene: Queen Anne tables, chairs, desks, lowboys, breakfronts and highboys, some decorated with shells and others with acanthus leaves.

describe the imageFast forward to 2014, and the furniture with the can-can legs has lost its appeal.

The Queen is dead - for at least the next century. That's what our customers are telling us. The few pieces we have taken on consignment in the last year typically spend a few lonely weeks, ignored, on the showroom floor before we return them to their owners.

Still, some people are loyal royalists. One woman called us last week asking if we would take fifty pieces of furniture she'd bought in 1986. The stuff was in pristine condition. Protected from the sun, the flame-stitched cushions hadn't faded a bit. No ding or dent married those cabriolet legs. But I had to tell her the Queen wouldn't be lying in state at FCG. She was crushed at the news.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!
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